CMNS 423 Rev. C5 (2015): The Television Age Report a Broken Link

Communication Studies 423: The Television Age examines television as a technology, an industry, an educator, a medium for propaganda, and an art form. You will study the major trends in television broadcasting and performance as well as major trends in critical responses to television. Through assignments, readings, commentaries, and television viewing, you will examine and analyze the impact and implications of television in the past, present, and future. Is television a cultural tool or a detriment to civilized life? If it plays to the lowest common cultural denominator, does it succeed in creating large, like-minded audiences? Is it in its infancy, ascendancy, or decline?

Required Readings


Unit 1


Williams, R.  (1992). "The Social History of the uses of television technology." In R. Williams, Television: Technology and cultural form (pp. 12-25). New York: Taylor & Francis. [E-book]
McLuhan, M.  (1964). “Television: The timid giant.” In M. McLuhan, Understanding media: The extensions of man (pp. 308-337). New York: McGraw-Hill. [Online]
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 1: The history of television and the nature of the medium [Video file].

Unit 2


Williams, R.  (1992). "The technology and the society.” In R. Williams, Television: Technology and cultural form (pp. 1-12). New York: Taylor & Francis. [E-book]
Lapan, L.  (2009). Network television and the digital threat. UCLA Entertainment Law Review, 16(2), 343-393. [E-Journal]
Butler, J. G.  (2007). “Television's Ebb and Flow in the Postnetwork Era.” In J. Butler, Television: Critical methods and applications (3rd ed.) (pp. 3-19). New York: Routledge. [Online]
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 2: The state of the art and the industry [Video file].

Unit 3


Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 3: Sponsorship and art [Video file].

Unit 4


Feuer, J.  (1992). "Genre Study and Television.” In R. C. Allen (Ed.), Channels of discourse reassembled: Television and contemporary criticism (2nd ed.) (pp. 138-160). Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. [E-book].
Fiske, J.  (1987). "Intertextuality." In J. Fiske, Television culture (pp. 86-102). London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. [E-book]
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 4: Genres and formats I [Video file].

Unit 5


Mittell, J.  (2004). "Television genres as cultural categories." In J. Mittell, Genre and television: From cop shows to cartoons in American culture (pp. 1-11). New York: Routledge. [E-book].
Jenkins, H.  (1995). “‘Infinite diversity in infinite combinations’: Genre and authorship in Star Trek.” In J. Tulloch & H. Jenkins (Eds.), Science fiction audiences: Watching Dr. Who and Star Trek (pp. 173-193). New York: Routledge. [E-book].
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 5: Genres and formats II [Video file].

Unit 6


Albiniak, P.  (2012). Time to talk the talk—finally: A glutted field of syndicated chat shows competes to rule the post-Oprah market. Broadcasting & Cable, 142(4), 10-11. [E-Database]
Collins, S.  (2006). Making the most out of 15 minutes: Reality TV’s dispensable celebrity. Television & New Media, 9(2), doi:10.1177/1527476407313814. [E-Journal]
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 6: News, tabloid, reality TV, and the creation of community [Video file].

Unit 7


Zavrel, E. A.   (2011). How the Discovery Channel television show Mythbusters accurately depicts science and engineering culture. Journal of Science Education & Technology, 20(2), 201-207. doi:10.1007/s10956-010-9246-3. [E-Journal].
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 7: The power to educate and inform [Video file].

Unit 8


PBS.  (2014, 29 April). Pioneers of television: Breaking barriers. PBS Video. Retrieved from http://video.pbs.org/video/2365221411/. [Video].
Miller, T. C.   (2011). Performing Glee: Gay resistance to gay representations and a new slumpy class. FLOW, 14(3). Retrieved from http://flowtv.org/2011/07/performing-glee/ [Online article]
McCabe, J., & Akass, K.   (2006). Feminist television criticism: Notes and queries. Critical Studies in Television, 1(1), 108-120. [E-Journal]
Press, A.   (2009). Gender and family in television’s golden age and beyond. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 625(1), 139-150. doi:10.1177/0002716209337886. [E-Journal].
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 8: Stereotypes and role models [Video file].

Unit 9


Sienkiewicz, M., & Marx, N.  (2014). Click culture: The perils and possibilities of Family guy and convergence era television. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 11(2), 103-119. doi:10.1080/14791420.2013.873943. [E-Journal].
Earp, J.  (Dir.). (2010). The mean world syndrome: Media violence & the cultivation of fear. Northampton, MA: Media Education Foundation. [Video]
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 9: The offensive side of television [Video file].

Unit 10


Moran, A.   (2009). Global franchising, local customizing: The cultural economy of TV program formats. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 23(2), 115-125. doi:10.1080/10304310802706932. [E-Journal].
Athabasca University. (2015). The television age, unit 10: Global television [Video file].